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Ethanol vs Alcohol Gel Fire Fuel

gel fuel fireplace gel alcohol fuel fireplace ethanol fuel fireplace bioethanol fireplace

Alcohol gel fireplaces and ethanol fireplaces are types of vent free fireplaces that offer a myriad of imaginative uses! Alcohol gel and ethanol fireplaces provide instant ambiance and subtle heat with the click of a lighter. No mess, no maintenance and no cleanup! Fire fuel fireplaces are extremely energy efficient and the flame burns so clean that they can be used indoors as well as outdoors. In fact, heat, steam, and very minimal amounts of CO2 are the only by-products that an ethanol fire place will produce. Ethanol fireplaces and alcohol gel fireplaces create an atmosphere of pure comfort so you can sit back, relax and enjoy vibrant playful flames that are full of energy; and the best part is they don't produce any smoke so you don't have to play musical chairs around the fireplace trying to avoid a sooty cloud of smoke!

Ethanol fireplaces and alcohol gel fireplaces offer a lot of the same homeowner benefits however, the two fire fuels do have some distinct characteristics that might make one a more appealing option for your home than the other. This article discusses ethanol fireplaces, alcohol gel fireplaces and the different fire fuel types that each fireplace uses. We hope this information will help you choose the perfect ethanol fire place or alcohol gel fireplace for your home or outdoor living space.


What is the difference between an ethanol fire place and an alcohol gel fireplace?

ethanol fuel burner

Ethanol fireplaces use ethanol fire fuel. Standard features on  ethanol fireplaces generally include an enclosure to house the fire source, visual aids such as sand and ceramic logs to enhance the realism of the fireplace, and a burning pot to hold the ethanol fire fuel. To use an ethanol fire place, the pourable liquid ethanol is simply poured directly into the burning pot and lit inside of the fireplace with a long wand lighter. Each time the burning pot is emptied on the ethanol fire place it can simply be refilled with ethanol from the pourable container.

Ethanol fireplaces come in a variety of styles and designs for both indoor and outdoor applications. These fireplace styles include free-standing models, wall fireplaces, table-top fireplaces, inserts that consist of prefabricated logs or a decorative fireplace grate that sits inside of an existing fireplace, and a variety of firebox and fire pit designs.

gel fuel fireplace

Alcohol gel fireplaces use canisters of alcohol gel fire fuel. Their standard features include an enclosure to house the fire source, visual aids such as sand and ceramic logs to enhance the realism of the fireplace, and one or multiple designated areas to house canisters of alcohol gel fuel. To use an alcohol gel fireplace, shake the fire fuel, remove the label from the canister, place the fire fuel canister inside of the fireplace in the designated area and light the fuel with a long wand lighter.

Alcohol gel fireplaces come in all sorts of styles and designs including stylish table top models, full gel fuel fireplace collaborations that include cast surrounds and concrete log sets, inserts which use your existing fireplace, free-standing, and unique wall mount applications.


Different Types of Fire Fuel

Alcohol gel Fire Fuel

gel fuel flame pattern

Alcohol gel fuel is made with a mixture of pure isopropyl alcohol, water, salt and thickeners. Manufacturers add salt to the gel fuel to produce a crackling sound that simulates a true wood burning fire. Alcohol gel fireplaces produce a slow burning, rich yellow flame. The intense flame from the gel fuel is instant, thick and powerful, flaring with strength of color and the BTU range can range from 2500-3000. The flame from a gel fuel burner can cascade up to 8" from the top of the gel can and each 13oz. can will provide anywhere from 2.5-3 hours of subtle heat and ambient light.

To light the fire: Use a long match or a long wand lighter to light the fire fuel.

To extinguish the fire: Place the lid on the gel fuel canister inside of the alcohol gel fireplace or use a gel fuel snuffer. This will cut off the oxygen supply from the fire and extinguish the flame.

Ethanol Fire Fuel

ethanol flame pattern

Ethanol is an absolute alcohol that is produced by the fermentation of sugars originating from plant forestry products. It is a renewable fuel source that is completely biodegradable. Ethanol fireplaces produce a slightly thinner flame pattern that is more scattered and playful. Ethanol fuel requires anywhere from 5-15 minutes to warm up before the flame is at its best. Once the ethanol fireplace has warmed up it will produce a beautiful orange and yellow flame and it will be full of motion. The BTU range of ethanol fire fuel can range from 4,000 - 8,500 and generally 1 quart of ethanol will last for up to 5 hours depending on the size of the burning pot on your ethanol fire place.

To light the fire: Use a long match or a long wand lighter to light the fuel in the ethanol fire place.

To extinguish the fire: Cover the fuel tray on the ethanol fire place with the fuel tray lid. By closing the lid, you eliminate the supply of oxygen which extinguishes the flame in ethanol fireplaces.

***NOTE: When using a vent free gel alcohol fuel or ethanol fire place be sure to wait at least 30-45 minutes before relighting the fuel to allow the cup, reservoir, can or fireplace to cool down. Failure to allow the alcohol fuel ample time to cool down inside of bio fireplaces can result in serious injury if the fuel is ignited while it is still hot.***


How Can an Ethanol Fire place or an Alcohol Gel Fireplace Benefit You?

bio fireplaces
  • An ethanol fire place is easy to install
  • Alcohol gel fireplaces are stylish and authentic
  • An ethanol fire place is easy to maintain
  • Alcohol gel fireplaces are heat and energy efficient
  • An ethanol fire place is smoke, fume and odor-free
  • An alcohol gel fireplace can be used indoors and outdoors
  • An ethanol fire place doesn't require wood, electricity, a chimney, or gas
  • Ethanol fireplaces have a regulated flame can be controlled and distinguished at any time

Ethanol and Alcohol Gel Overview - Which Fire Fuel is Best For You?

Types of Fire Fuel Overview

Ethanol Alcohol Gel
  • Playful, scattered bright orange flames
  • Pourable liquid used to continuously refill burner pan
  • 4,000-8,500 BTUs/Hr.
  • Bio degradable - Made from produced by the fermentation of sugars originating from plant forestry products
  • 1 quart of fuel burns for up to 5 hours - May vary depending on the size of the fuel tray
  • Takes 10-15 minutes of warm up time until flame has reached its full potential
  • Gathered, thicker flames
  • Ready to use canisters set directly inside of the fireplace and disposed of when empty
  • 2,500-3,000 BTUs/Hr.
  • Made with a mixture of pure isopropyl alcohol, water, salt (creates a crackling sound effect) and thickeners
  • Each 30 Oz. can will last 2.5-3 hours
  • Crackles while it burns to simulate the sound of a real wood burning fire
  • After just 30 seconds of lighting, flame is at full potential

Use the comparison chart on the right to decide which type of fireplace and fire fuel will best suit you and your lifestyle.

While both types of fire fuel offer the same perks of creating a relaxing fireside experience without the mess, maintenance, and clean up, there are some differences that might sway your decision toward one fireplace type or the other.

For example you may favor the flame presentation of the ethanol fire place over that of the alcohol gel or you might favor the simplicity of the throw away canisters that an alcohol gel fireplace provides over the ethanol fire place.

Both the ethanol fire place fireplace and the alcohol gel fireplace are eco friendly products. They don